JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister said on Saturday that the international community needs to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities after the country’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected.
“With the results of the election in Iran, the international community must stop a nuclear Iran and Iranian terror immediately,” said Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
“If there was a shadow of hope for a change in Iran, the renewed choice of Ahmadinejad expresses more than anything the growing Iranian threat,” Ayalon said in a statement.
Other Israeli officials made similar comments, but the government has not yet offered an official statement on Iranian leader’s re-election.
Cabinet minister Silvan Shalom called on “the United States and the free world to re-evaluate their policies toward Iran regarding its nuclear programme.”
Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and the Jewish state sees Tehran’s nuclear aspirations as a threat to its existence.
Israel has said it supports efforts to try to talk Iran out of building nuclear weapons but believes it should be limited to a set timeframe and has said all options should be kept on the table.
Iran denies seeking nuclear arms and has so far shrugged off Western pressure to freeze its programme.
Iranian-backed Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that seized the Gaza Strip from Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, welcomed Ahmadinejad’s victory.
Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum said the group hopes Iran will “continue to support the Palestinian rights and the Palestinian
people and continue to respect the Palestinian democratic choice and help us to end the sanctions.”
Israel tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip after Hamas’s takeover and launched a devastating three-week offensive in late December against the Islamist group, which refuses to recognise the Jewish state’s right to exist.